2 MVP finalists and 1 up for ROY: Cards eye hefty BBWAA haul

Goldschmidt, Arenado, Donovan seek prestigious honors to cap memorable season

November 8th, 2022

ST. LOUIS -- Spectacular seasons for and -- performances that pushed the Cardinals to an NL Central crown -- made them MVP finalists, while teammate ’s rookie season continues to get better and better.

Arenado and Goldschmidt were joined by Padres star third baseman Manny Machado as finalists for the Baseball Writers' Association of America NL Most Valuable Player Award. Arenado (7.9), Goldschmidt (7.8) and Machado (6.8) were the NL leaders in the all-important wins above replacement statistic in 2022. Each of those three has been a perennial candidate for the NL MVP Award in recent years, but none has won the league’s top individual honor.

Arenado, who had at least 30 home runs and 100 RBIs for the seventh time in his career, took pride in showing that his prolific numbers aren’t just a product of the thin air in Colorado. Posting MVP-caliber numbers for a second straight season in St. Louis, he admitted, meant something special to him after spending his first eight seasons starring for the Rockies.

“It used to bother me a little bit, but I’ve always believed that I was good enough to play anywhere,” said Arenado, who recently informed the Cardinals that he plans to remain in his contract for the next five seasons. “Even when I was putting up the numbers when I was there [in Colorado], they were saying it. And last year, when I didn’t play great, people were saying, ‘Well, he’s out of Coors [Field].’ I really believe I just didn’t have a good year last year, but I found a way to get better, and that’s why this season I played a lot better on both sides of the ball.”

Goldschmidt, the NL leader in OPS (.982) and slugging (.578) and a top-five finisher in four other major offensive statistical categories, was named the NL’s Most Outstanding Player last week in the MLBPA Players Choice Awards.

Goldschmidt, who hit .317 with 35 home runs, 41 doubles and 115 RBIs this past season, has finished in the top six five times in voting for the NL MVP Award. He was second in 2013 and ’15, third in ’17 and sixth in ’18 and ’21.

Arenado was nearly as good while helping the Cardinals post a 93-69 regular-season record. In addition to winning a 10th straight Gold Glove, Arenado ranked sixth in the NL in batting average (.293), 11th in home runs (30), fourth in RBIs (103), tied for third in doubles (42), fourth in OPS (.891), second in slugging (.533) and ninth in on-base percentage (.358). He equaled a mark set by Ichiro Suzuki with 10 consecutive Gold Gloves to start his career and he became just the fourth infielder in AL/NL history with 10 consecutive Gold Gloves at one position.

In NL MVP voting, Arenado finished eighth in 2015, fifth in '16, fourth in '17, third in '18 and sixth in '19 -- all with the Rockies.

Donovan, who became the first Cardinals rookie to win a Gold Glove, was named a finalist for the BBWAA NL Rookie of the Year Award. Donovan is expected to finish well behind Braves stars Spencer Strider and Michael Harris II -- the two other finalists -- but that doesn't diminish the honor. Donovan was awarded the first NL Utility Gold Glove Award after becoming just the third rookie in the Modern Era to play at least six games at six different defensive positions. While playing 854 1/3 innings at second base, third base, left field, right field, shortstop and first base, Donovan committed just seven errors.

“This is going to sound crazy because I just won a Gold Glove, but I want to improve defensively,” Donovan said. “Offensively, I have to continue to smooth things out -- whether that’s approach or it’s hitting breaking stuff better.”

At the plate, Donovan led NL rookies in walks (60) and on-base percentage (.394), while ranking second in hits (110) and runs (64).

“I saw some things this year that will never happen again in the game of baseball,” Donovan said, referring to the exploits of . “To do this as a rookie, it was an honor and a blessing, and to wear the birds on a bat has truly been a blessing. I’m truly excited for what the future has to hold.”